The most exciting thing about the Hot August Music Festival this weekend at Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville has to be all the phenomenal fresh faces supporting this year’s guaranteed-to-be-amazing headliners. Among the up and coming great new bands on the festival lineup is the small town Midwestern band Houndmouth. Not so very long ago, this group of four fell right into place with one another and immediately began to win the world over with their fun and fresh romanticized neo-folk songs about storybook hard-luck souls of the Great Depression era. Those songs can be heard on their debut album, “From The Hills Below The City.”
In between boot shopping and studio recording, I got a chance to chat with Matt Myers (guitar/vocals) to get a more personal feel of the band. Houndmouth recently played the increasingly important Newport Folk Festival and the excitement of the event was still fresh for the group. Though it was not the first year the band had played the festival, it was a good feeling for them to be invited back and upgraded to a bigger stage.
Myers recalled his favorite behind the scenes moment: “I met Jack White for the first time there. My buddy who I was with dropped a whiffle ball. They (friends and band members) had organized a whiffle ball game and it landed right by Jack’s foot. He was like, ‘Can you pick that up for me?’ Jack reaches down, grabs it, turns around and goes, ‘I told you kids to stay out of my yard – I’m trying to get some rest.’ So that was funny.”
The members of Houndmouth have been performing together for only a little more than two years, but they are definitely solid in each other’s company.
“Every once in a while, you get to that point where you’re telepathic with the people you play with and you kind of know what’s going to happen,” Myers said. “We’re there, but we’re still trying to do more. I hope that never ends. I hope that’s just how it is. You never want to get to a pinnacle because I think the process is the pinnacle.”
The band came together and sprouted in the small Indiana town of New Albany. It’s still their home base.
“There really wasn’t a music scene,” he explained. “There was like two or three other bands that weren’t cover bands. But Louisville is right across the river and they kind of open up their arms. It’s weird, but nice. That really helped us get our start. There is this kind of underground scene that’s nice.”
Even though the band’s debut album was released a little over a year ago, Houndmouth is already back in the studio between tours.
“We’ve been writing a lot,” he said. “We had like 25 songs before we decided to go into the studio. Now we’ve cut it down to 15 and we still have to make some cuts, but I can’t wait. We’re only like two songs in so far.”
Similar to what gained the band some fame and fortune after releasing “From The Hills Below The City,” the new studio album currently in the works will have a storytelling, folk song theme, but it will not be limited.
“We like folk songs and we like telling stories,” Myers noted, “but there are other songs that are more personal to us and aren’t necessarily folk songs. But there’s definitely some storytelling folk songs. They are just fun.”
There’s certainly plenty to come from this youthful and jangly bunch of storytelling Midwesterners, so catch them at this year’s Hot August Music Festival and keep your eyes on the horizon for a new album!